The excellent (rated 4.5 stars and higher):
Run by Ann Patchett (my review)
I Am Forbidden by Anouk Markovits (my review)
New Finnish Grammar by Diego Marani (my review)
I Wish I Had a Red Dress by Pearl Cleage (my review)
Long Gone by Alafair Burke (my review)
The good (rated 4 stars):
Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan (my review)
The Sealed Letter by Emma Donoghue (my review)
Perla by Carolina De Robertis (my review)
Alice by Judith Hermann (my review)
The Flying Man by Roopa Farooki (my review)
The disappointing (rated less than 4 stars):
Tides of War by Stella Tillyard (my review)
The not yet reviewed:
On the Floor by Aifric Campbell (review coming soon)
Island of Wings by Karin Altenberg (review coming soon)
Night Watch by Linda Fairstein (review coming July 2)
Rethinking Prize lists
Although I managed to complete most of the goals I set for May 2012, I was surprised to see only one of my 4.5 or 5 star reads this month came from my prize goals. As I looked back on the rest of my 2012 reading, I became even more surprised: none of the six books I've rated 5 stars this year came from prize lists (While Bel Canto won the Orange Prize, I read it on my quest to read all the Ann Patchett novels this year.) I looked back to 2011. Of the fourteen books I rated 5 stars, only one (Sense of an Ending) came from a prize list, but Ann Patchett's State of Wonder did end up making the Orange Prize shortlist in 2012.
I've spent much of the last week pondering exactly what kind of reader I want to be. I came to a few conclusions: after a banner year of prize reading in 2010, where seven of my top 10 for the year came from prize lists (and one went on to win the Pulitzer in 2011), the success of these reads has diminished somewhat. Once I got thinking, it began to make perfect sense: the prize juries are different each year. As much as I love the big prizes, some years the selections will match up with my personal taste better than other years.
While I don't plan to completely abandon prize lists, I'm going to trust my hunches more. I hope to spend June reading whatever strikes my fancy. I want to emphasize reading the authors I already love, the authors I've been meaning to read for years, the new releases that sound the best to me, and the recommendations of readers who share similar taste. So far in 2012, those types of books have been my personal favorites.
Now tell me: what one book would you recommend to me?